Florida prison officials back off new moves to censor ‘Militant’

By John Studer
April 23, 2018

The Militant geared up for another fight when it got a letter from a reader behind bars in Florida saying his paper had been impounded by authorities at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution. He sent us the impoundment notice after officials seized issue no. 12, falsely claiming it “depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption.”

In the space on the form where officials have to indicate the “specific written or pictorial matter” that led them to censor the paper, Santa Rosa authorities wrote, “ALL PAGES DISCUSS PROTEST.”

If upheld the arbitrary and unconstitutional impoundment could mean every issue of the Militant would be banned — and most other publications also. In today’s world, even the most conservative bourgeois papers frequently report on workers strikes, protests by teachers, marches against cop killings and other demonstrations.

The Militant has fought almost a dozen efforts by Florida prison officials to bar the paper from its readers behind bars. We have won the majority of them.

This record has had an effect. Militant attorney David Goldstein contacted the Florida statewide Literature Review Committee April 9 to request they overturn the ban. Committee Chair Allen Peterson wrote back that they had in fact rejected the impoundment four days earlier. “This means the issue will be allowed into FDC institutions,” Peterson said.

“Maybe Florida prison officials have decided to back off on censoring the Militant for a while. That would be great for our readers in Florida prisons,” said John Studer, the paper’s editor. “Readers behind bars should let the Militant know if their subscriptions are impounded.”